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HVK Archives: Press Release on media reports about violent incidents in Gujarat

Press Release on media reports about violent incidents in Gujarat - The Observer

Posted By Ashok Chowgule (ashokvc@giasbm01.vsnl.net.in)
Mon, 11 Jan 1999 11:27:33 +0530

PRESS RELEASE

Navtej Sarna
Counsellor (Press, Information & Culture)
Embassy of India, Washington, DC
(202) 939-7041
Email: sarna@indiagov.org

January 7, 1999

Press Release on media reports about violent incidents in Gujarat

Several reports have appeared in the media, both in India and the USA,
about certain violent incidents in recent weeks in the State of Gujarat.
Since many of these reports have sensationalized the events, this press
release is being issued to put the whole situation in proper
perspective.

The incidents of attack on places of religious worship have been widely
condemned by all sections in India, in keeping with the country's
secular traditions. The Prime Minister of India, Mr. Atal Bihari
Vajpayee, has made it plain that there is no place for religious bigotry
in India and that the Government is committed to maintain social amity
and peace. The Prime Minister personally condemned the attacks on the
Christian community and directed the State Government to take stern
action against the elements bent on disturbing communal harmony. The
Ministry of Home Affairs has also taken steps to curb the situation and
despatched a high-level team to make an on-the-spot inquiry. The report
of this team has been received and action is being taken on it to
further strengthen law and order arrangements in the area. The Gujarat
Home Minister, in-charge of law and order in the State, also visited and
camped at the troubled sites to personally supervise the law and order
arrangements.

The National Commission for Minorities, a body set up by an Act of
Parliament, is fully seized of the situation. The Commission has
welcomed Prime Minister's statement and stated that it would go a long
way in rebuilding the confidence of the minorities. The Prime Minister
will soon be visiting the affected district in Gujarat to assess the
situation for himself.

Investigation and prosecution of crimes is proceeding according to law.
According to reports, 30 cases of criminal offence have been registered
in the last couple of weeks. 116 alleged miscreants have been arrested
by the State Police. Furthermore, 44 persons, from whom breach of peace
was apprehended were detained in preventive custody.

The State Government has announced relief and payment ex gratia for
damage to property, and for rebuilding the structures.

The State Reserve Police have been deployed in the affected areas of the
State, and Peace Committees comprising of representatives of various
communities have been activated at the district level to restore
normalcy rapidly.

Considering the size and population of India, incidents in a localized
area when magnified and exaggerated present a very distorted picture.
Highly regrettable as these incidents are, the fact remains that both
the Central and State Governments have been quick to act to curb
undesirable and criminal activity. Government has also made a firm
commitment to deal with the culprits to the full extent of the law.

The Christian community in India is a popular and respected section of
the Indian people. There is a tradition of amity in regard to this
community which will be fully protected. The Christian population
numbering nearly 23 million is not under threat, and it will continue to
play its due role in the life and development of the nation.

Extracts from the Indian Press


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